Friday, April 27, 2012
Rice's "New ME Birth pangs" Deliver "Daughter of the Mountain"
Rice's "New ME Birth pangs" Deliver "Daughter of the Mountain"
By K Gajendra Singh July 31, 2006
"To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace." – Tacitus
Before 26th July, when Shi'i Hizbullah fighters, defending Bint Jubail (daughter of the mountain in Arabic) a few miles inside in South Lebanon , smashed back an Israeli elite troops assault, there was a parade of pictures. Western leaders in playful mood at G-8 summit, with US President George Bush and by now his universally described poodle the British Prime Minister, preening that Israel , the US policeman in the Middle East, would hammer out the Hizbollah and teach a lesson to Syria too. Although , some concern became public when Bush wondered to Blair if some one could influence Damascus when the mike was unwittingly left on.
In Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Amir Peretz, the first non- military officers to occupy these posts in recent times, swaggered around confidently claiming that given a couple of weeks, the mighty Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) would show the Americans and the world that what Washington could not achieve in Iraq, Tel Aviv would do in Lebanon.
But it was a humiliating reversal for Tel Aviv – perhaps a tipping point against Israel's brutal bullying in the region.
Shaikh Hassan Nassrullah ( means victory of God) , the charismatic leader of Hizbollah, whom Israel tried to obliterate by dropping a 25 ton bunker bursting bomb on a mosque site and his freedom fighters have exposed Israel's Achilles heel in close fighting and now stand atop Bint Jubail in popularity still rippling around the world , specially among Muslims , of all denominations , humiliated and killed daily in Palestine , Iraq and Afghanistan by US led West and its allies
"The longest day "
One Israeli newspaper called Wednesday battle of Israeli denouement 'the longest day'. Although IDF has withdrawn from Bint Jubail , orders for a large stand-by mobilisation of reserves suggests another major battle might still come. Probably sooner rather than later with a lot more bloodshed - 'Before any international agreement, Israel must sound the last chord, launching a massive air and ground offensive that will end this mortifying war, not with a whimper but with a thunderous roar,' urged the influential Haaretz columnist Yoel Marcus.
Israel's thunderous roar –Kill more civilians
Soon the IDF showed its thunderous roar , when it bombarded a 4 storey building housing refugees in the south Lebanon village of Qana , killing over 50 persons , mostly children and women. So even Lebanon's pro-West Premier Fouad Senioria asked Condi Rice not to come to Lebanon on Sunday , 30 July ,forcing her to call off her trip from Tel Aviv. He said: "There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now." Rice had little on offer.
Hizbullah threatened to retaliate, saying that "this horrific massacre [at Qana] will not go without a response". France , UK , Egypt , Jordan and Iran among others have condemned the attacks .
Israel spoke persons said that Israel only targets Hizbollah 'terrorists ' using US supplied precision-guided bombs . USA uses similar bombs in Iraq too .It is the same horror movie again. World focus on civilian deaths and destruction in Lebanon - roughly 10 times the number suffered by Israel - has damaged Israel's case abroad, despite the unwavering support of the US.
Two years ago an angry Turkish Premier Erdogan had asked the Israeli Infrastructure Minister Yousef Paritzky: "What is the difference between terrorists who kill Israeli civilians and Israel, which also kills civilians [ in Gaza]?"
China's Peoples Daily had commented earlier ,"The US does not want a ceasefire, it wants Israel to take advantage of this 'golden opportunity' and wipe out its opponents. This is why the US has not attempted to stop Israel; rather, they have added fuel to the fire. An article on the front page of Saturday's New York Times stated the US is "hastily sending precision-guided bombs to Israel"
"However, the US takes a great risk by adopting this strategy. The country may forfeit its standing as a just and fair mediator for the region. A noted columnist for the Washington Post pointed out that the US has never bound itself so tightly to Israel before. While it acts on Israel's behalf, it is hard for the White House to win the trust of Arabian countries and the Muslim world.
" Furthermore, the US accuses Syria and Iran of providing weapons to Hezbullah, while the US itself provides a large amount of munitions to Israel. This will fan anti-American sentiment among the Arabic and Muslim public. A New York Times article on July 22nd pointed out that US' policy in the Middle East is doing nothing but creating more fundamentalists, extremists and anti-US activists, therefore aiding Osama Bin Laden in his recruitment efforts."
"Rice has had to cancel her original plan to stop in Saudi Arabia , Egypt and Jordan because no sensible Arabian government will invite trouble at a time when Israel looks set to begin a ruthless fight with Lebanon while the US looks on."
As for Israeli propaganda that Hizbullah hides among civilians , who according to its minister are a fair game , BBC World Affairs editor John Simpson said that Hizbullah stores its rockets in densely populated areas, with the willing agreement of those who look after them, but they usually (though not always) fire them from open areas away from towns and villages. Having traveled round southern Lebanon many times, he has no doubt that Hezbollah has a great deal of support in these areas.
Arab and Muslim reaction ;
There is an unprecedented swell of public support for Hizbullah that cuts across sectarian lines. According to a poll released by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hizbullah's fight with Israel, a rise of 29 percent on a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, is the level of support for Hizbullah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis.
A Saudi government statement had decried the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Islamist groups as "uncalculated adventures," slamming Hizbullah for "unexpected, inappropriate, and irresponsible acts." Egypt's president and Jordan's king jointly criticized Hizbullah, lamenting that the region had been "dragged along by an adventurism that does not serve the interests of Arab affairs." Lebanese politician Walid Jumblatt blamed Iran outright. But after 26 July ,Nassrullah's detractors beat a hasty retreat , even refusing to host US Secretary of State , Condi Rice .Her isolation at the meeting on Lebanon then held in Rome proved what an expert Robert Drefuss called her- a know nothing on the Middle East .
"The numbing fact that Bush-Rice fail to acknowledge - perhaps understandably, given the alcoholic's tendency to evade reality - is that Washington now can only speak to a few Arab governments (in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere) who are in almost no position to impact on anyone other than their immediate families and many guards.
"Washington is engaged almost exclusively with Arab governments whose influence with Syria is virtually nonexistent, whose credibility with Arab public opinion is zero, whose own legitimacy at home is increasingly challenged, and whose pro-US policies tend to promote the growth of those militant Islamist movements that now lead the battle against American and Israeli policies. Is Rice traveling to a new Middle East, or to a diplomatic Disneyland of her own imagination? "
" Someone should give Rice a modern history book of the Middle East, so that she can cut through the haze of her long political drunken stupor, and finally see more clearly from where the problems of this region emanate, where the solutions come from, and how her country can become a constructive rather than a destructive force." wrote Rami Khouri, a Christian , in his Crie de Coeur "A new Middle East, or Rice's fantasy ride?" in Beirut's pro-West Daily Star.
Al Qaeda joins the Jihad against Christian –Zionist crusade;
To make it a full fledged Crusade ( so uttered by George Bush after 911) vs Jihad , in a video tape broadcast by Al-Jazeera TV ,Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri ,weighed in with a worldwide call for Muslims to rise up in holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza, until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq" , warning that Al-Qaeda would not stand "idly by, humiliated", as Israeli "shells burn our brothers".
He added that "every participant will pay the price"--" all the world as a battlefield [was] open in front of us". "The shells and rockets ripping apart Muslim bodies in Gaza and Lebanon are not only Israeli [weapons], but are supplied by all the countries of the crusader coalition. Therefore, every participant in the crime will pay the price."
Few Americans would remember that Osama bin Laden cited the 9/11 attacks as payback for Israel's 1982 bombardment and siege of Beirut that killed up to 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinians and left the city shattered.
Western and its corporate media keep repeating Iranian aid of US $100 to Hizbullah including rockets and missiles , but F-16 , Apache gun ships , tanks and other heavy arms , with key British components, are supplied by USA with the total aid amounting to over US$ 100 billion to Israel , since it was forcible embedded in the middle east to expatiate for centuries long European Christian maltreatment of Jews and sins culminating in the holocaust .The former victims have become the victimizers of Palestinians and commit daily terrors .Even polls in Europe give top spots to Israel and USA , countries which endanger world peace.
Normally Sunni fanatic Al Qaeda has always treated Shi'is like non-believers , which explains the wars between the two Islamic sects almost since the beginning of Islam , now the cause of ongoing civil war in Iraq ignited by USA and UK , perpetual Shi'i-Sunni conflict in Pakistan , time to time massacres of Alevis in Turkey and in Afghanistan ie between Sunni Pushtuns and Shi'i Tajiks , Hazaras and others.
Unlike an almost open US led Christian crusade with Jews against Islam now , in the early second millennium Crusades , both Jews (beginning with Europe ) and Muslims were the victims and butchered , but orthodox Christians in Asia and East Europe always end up at the wrong end of the stick , as they would now .The Crusaders attacks against orthodox Byzantine Constantinople ( now Istanbul ) weakened it and was soon run over by Turkish hordes from the East .
According to US correspondents accompanying Ms Rice on her first visit to the region, she proposed the intervention of a Nato-led force ( but without US troops ,Germans too have declined) along the Lebanese-Israeli border for between 60 and 90 days to assure that a ceasefire exists, the deployment of an enlarged Nato force throughout Lebanon to disarm Hizbullah and then the retrain the Lebanese army before its own deployment to the border. Some fantasy ! Have seen this movie before , in Iraq. After the apparent deliberate killing of 4 UN soldiers inside Lebanon border , how many countries would offer troops .
Wrote Robert Fisk ," Does Ms Rice think the Hizbollah want to be disarmed? By Nato? Wasn't there a Nato force in Beirut which fled Lebanon after a group close to the Hizbollah bombed the US Marine base at Beirut airport in 1983, killing 241 US servicemen and dozens more French troops a few seconds later? Does anyone believe that Shia Muslim forces will not do the same again to any Nato "intervention" force? Berlin has said it would not provide troops. The Americans are talking about Indonesian ,Egyptian and Turkish troops in southern Lebanon; Sunni Muslims in Shi'i territory!
Bush Blair Washington Summit !
Faced with somewhat penetrating questions, for a change ,from normally a supine and subservient press corps after the White House meeting on 28th July, Bush and Blair, in contrast to the swagger of Western Christian conquerors on the eve of US led illegal invasion of Iraq on March 16 ,2003 on the Portuguese island of Azores in the Atlantic, ( Premiers of Spain and host Portugal have been voted out for pro-US policies) gave a pathetic performance .Sticking together 'on course ' offering more of the same ,Bush meandered into the Mantra of 911 , taught by his mentor Karl Rove .Blair ,with his colonial mentality and jugglery of words , which have brought his country closer to the abyss of Londonistan , had nothing new to say . Afraid of Muslim backlash at home, Blair's party is in revolt led by his former Foreign Minister Jack Straw.
In Seattle, a Pak origin American attacked Jewish Centre killing one and injuring many , while in Istanbul , Turks beat up a Brit taking him to be an Israeli .
Bush and Blair had the chance to call for the fighting to end without preconditions, but both batted away in favour of what they paint the bigger picture. This is a "chance for broader change in the region", Bush said. The world needed "a framework that allows us to stabilise the situation for the medium and longer-term," Blair chimed in.
"They called for a UN-backed force to intervene in southern Lebanon, but without some stability on the ground - and with no indication whatsoever of what countries might supply troops - it would be rash to think blue helmets will arrive to put a lid on the violence any time soon."
In the meanwhile the Israeli war machine continues to destroy Lebanon civilian infrastructure and killing civilians .The US now believes significant damage has been inflicted on Hizbollah and that prolonging the war would enhance Hizbollah's standing in the Islamic world more than it would hurt its capacity to fight.
According to Lebanon's health minister about 600 civilians have died in Israeli attacks in the past 16 days. Some 51 Israelis including 18 civilians have been killed since the conflict began. Israel claims it killed 26 Hizbollah fighters near Bint J'beil, meanwhile Hizbollah launched a new rocket, the Khaibar-1, at the northern Israeli town of Afula, in its deepest strike yet.
"This is Olmert's war, largely about the new Israeli prime minister establishing his political credibility, needing to demonstrate he is as tough as Ariel Sharon. He may have miscalculated. Britain should not be party to Olmert's folly " said a Guardian comment on 27 July.
Watching US-supplied Israeli jets smash his nation Lebanon to smithereens , Rami Khouri questioned US leaders historical background of the Middle East and said that Condi Rice's vernacular description of violent confrontations and political turmoil, with the massive destruction, dislocation and human suffering in Lebanon as an inevitable part of the "birth pangs of a new Middle East" looked " much more like a wicked hangover from a decades-old American orgy of diplomatic intoxication with the enticements of pro-Israeli politics. " The new Middle Easy is being born, are " the initial dying gasps of the Western-made political order that has defined this region and focused primarily on Israeli national dictates for most of the past half-century. The way to a truly new and stable Middle East is to apply policies that deliver equal rights to all concerned, not to favor Israel as having greater rights than Arabs.
"Rice declared that Israel should ignore calls for a cease-fire, saying: "This is a different Middle East. It's a new Middle East. It's hard, We're going through a very violent time." Behind the American position to support Israel's massive attacks against Lebanon's civilian infrastructure and Hizbullah positions is a sense - widely reported from Washington in recent days - that the Bush-Rice team wants to use this conflict to achieve short-term tactical aims and long-term strategic goals that serve the interests of America, Israel and their few allies in the region
" So we now have three Arab countries where American policies and arms have played a major role in promoting chaos, disintegration and mass death and suffering: Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. You can watch them burn, live on your television sets. ', which ironically, Bush-Rice & Co. have held up as models and pioneers of the American policy to promote freedom and democracy as antidotes to Arab despotism and terrorism " the last vestiges of anti-American defiance and anti-Israel resistance --probably comprise a majority of Arab people. Most of them flock to Islamist parties and resistance groups like Hamas, Hizbullah, the Muslim Brotherhood and assorted Shiite groups in the Iraqi government."
The London-based al-Quds al-Arabi said the United States delayed the Rome conference on in the belief that two weeks of military operations was enough to destroy Hizbullah paving the way for implementing the Resolution 1559, to disarm Hizbullah and to deploy international troops on the Lebanese-Israeli frontiers. The failure of the Rome meeting, it argued, "means the war will continue for more weeks, expecting it to expand towards other regional countries like Syria and Iran. "But the past two weeks of hostilities, the paper insisted, showed that Hizbollah managed to minimize its losses and results are starting to favor the organization, -- the longer 'the Israeli aggression, the more advantages for the resistance.'
Al Anwar commented that all parties see the confrontation as defining the future of the region in terms of a new Middle East for Washington and a plan for deterrence by the resistance.
Jonathan Cook a writer and journalist based at Nazareth commented " If anyone doubted the racism of our Western media, here it was proudly on display. The BBC apparently considers their Beirut reporter's first duty to find out what meals HMS Gloucester's chef will be preparing for the evacuees. Lebanese and Palestinian civilians die unnoticed by the Western media (though not by the Arab channels) while we learn of onboard sleeping arrangements on the ship bound for Cyprus. "
Corporate News networks like CNN were worse , even good old Larry King Live , perhaps the best of the lot , letting pro Israeli views go on and on by so called 'experts ' hired by CNN and not questioning them . Others are as bad on corporate media channels .They never call any of the thousands of ME experts from US universities , says some one like Prof Juan Cole of Michigan , who has a lively blog updated daily. Larry says that after thousands of interviews , he has only just begun .He is quite right , he has a long way to go in conveying a sense of fairness , honesty and integrity to non-Americans.
The author had begun his diplomatic career as an assistant press attaché in early 1960s at Cairo , and spent a good part of his time with the media, of 35 years , half as Head of Indian Missions . And has witnessed the decline and fall of the Western media ( now called communications ) , with five corporate giants now controlling 90% of 'communications 'in USA .
Beginnings of the Crisis;
The causes belli was provided by Hizbullah on 12 July ,when in an early morning raid against an Israeli army border post it captured two Israeli soldiers and demanded in exchange Lebanese and Hizbullah prisoner in Israeli jails , some since decades. Nothing unusual in that. The two sides have a history of exchanging soldiers . dead or alive. The Israelis do so in Occupied territories.
In the raid Hizbullah also killed three Israeli soldiers, while five Israelis were lightly injured. When Israelis sent a tank into Lebanon in pursuit it ran over a landmine, exploded ,killing four soldiers inside. Another soldier died in further clashes inside Lebanon when his unit tried to retrieve the bodies.
Rather than open diplomatic channels to start the process of getting its soldiers back, Israel launched bombing raids deep into Lebanese territory the same day. Next day Israel expanded its aerial rampage across the south and into Beirut, where the airports, roads, bridges, and power stations were pummelled. Nassrullah held off from serious retaliation for a day and a half, limiting his strikes to the well protected northern borders areas, Late on June 13 he turned his guns on Haifa, but a small volley of rockets caused no injuries and looked more like a warning than an escalation. It was another three days of constant Israeli bombardment of Lebanon, destroying the country and injuring countless civilians -- before Nassrullah hit Haifa again, including a shell that killed eight workers in a railway depot.
The UN Security council's failure from June 25 onwards to even express concern about events in Gaza is one possible reason why Hizbullah took the action it did on July 12, apart from doubtlessly other motives. But it appeared determined to stand up for the Palestinians when the international community was evidently unwilling or unable to do so.
UN's subsequent record in checking Israeli barbarity is even less edifying. US has reduced UN to impotence by repeatedly disrupting collective attempts to achieve an immediate halt to the violence. Faced with US obstruction, efforts by the French under its council presidency to gather support for a ceasefire resolution made scant progress.
The Israeli leadership did not learn from the American disaster in Iraq and what Ehud Barak, former Israeli premier had told US Vice President Dick Cheney, as reported by Seymour Hersh. Does Tel Aviv have a Plan B against Hizbollah as it accused US of not having in Iraq .
Bint Jubail battle ;
Claiming to "control" southern Lebanese town of Bint Jubail, a stronghold of Hizbullah , the Israelis arrogantly walked into a trap to beard the lion in his den. The moment they reached the deserted marketplace, they were ambushed from three sides, their soldiers falling to the ground under sustained rifle fire. The remaining Israeli troops - surrounded by the "terrorists" they were supposed to liquidate - desperately appealed for help, but an Israeli Merkava tank and other vehicles sent to help them were also attacked and set on fire. Up to 17 Israeli soldiers might have died in this disastrous operation, wrote Robert Fisk [During their occupation of Lebanon in 1983 , in just one suicide attack more than 50 Israeli soldiers were killed]
" When Israel sent in its elite Golani Infantry Brigade to secure the town before dawn on Wednesday, hundreds of soldiers were quickly pinned down by a Hizbullah ambush. Eight soldiers were killed almost immediately, and it took until early afternoon to move the dead and wounded two miles under heavy fire to a safe spot where they were picked up by helicopter and flown to a hospital in Haifa," said an Israeli paper.
According to Israeli officials, 8 Israeli soldiers were killed and 22 wounded in a fierce battle, as troops fought with Hizbullah guerrillas for control of Bint Jubeil , while Hizboulah's chief spokesman Hussein Rahhal claimed "13 Israelis have been burned alive in their tanks on our land."
"It was a tough day," said Major General Udi Adam, who heads Israel's Northern Command .Failure at Bint Jubail exposed Israeli difficulties to drive out Hizbollah from the hills and valleys of southern Lebanon, and why Israeli goals have so quickly changed from fully dismantling Hizbollah to securing a narrow strip, less than two miles long, north of Israel's border.
It is now public knowledge as military correspondents proudly reported that the Israeli army was exercising for this war in all its details for several years , with a large war game rehearsal only last week , while both the politicians and the generals declared that "we shall never again get into the Lebanon quagmire.
Reactions in Israel ;
Scoffed Uri Avnery , a Jewish writer and journalist ;" Ehud Olmert presents himself as the heir to Churchill ("blood, sweat and tears") which is quite pathetic enough. But then Amir Peretz puffs up his chest and shoots threats in all directions, and that's even more pathetic, if that's possible. He resembles nothing so much as a fly standing on the ear of an ox and proclaiming: "we are ploughing!"
Having for decades injured, maimed , killed and assassinated unarmed or ill armed Palestinians , mostly civilians from US supplied F-16s, Apache helicopters with the latest technological weapons , Israel was taken aback by the Hezbollah counterattack .
Israel's Haaretz commented that contrary to what the critics said ," the IDF is not fighting a small guerrilla organization. It is dealing with a trained, skilled, well-organized, highly motivated infantry that is equipped with the cream of the crop of modern weaponry from the arsenals of Syria, Iran, Russia and China, and which is very familiar with the territory on which it is fighting. In such a showdown, even when you have tanks and fighter planes, the going is very slow, and, sadly, you must also pay a heavy price in terms of casualties. "
There are troubling questions about Israel's exit strategy and what will constitute a victory. Ze'ev Schiff, the most respected military analyst in Israel commented: "Israel is far from a decisive victory and its main objectives have not been achieved." He made clear what was at stake. "Hizbullah and what it symbolises must be destroyed at any price," he wrote in Ha'aretz newspaper. "If Hizbollah does not experience defeat in this war, it will spell the end of Israeli deterrence against its enemies."
Another minister, Eli Yishai of the Shas party, said that after warnings had been given, "we must not enter villages where Hezbollah terrorists are hiding before we have turned them into sand boxes". Haim Ramon, the Justice Minister said that "Only Hezbollah gunmen remain,[ in Bint J'beil]. According to BBC Radio Ramon said that in order to prevent casualties among Israeli soldiers battling Hizbollah militants in southern Lebanon, villages should be flattened by the Israeli air force before ground troops moved in. He added that Israel had given the civilians of southern Lebanon ample time to quit the area and therefore anyone still remaining there could be considered a Hezbollah supporter.
"All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah," Ramon said on Israeli Army radio. Ramon also wants further attacks on infrastructure, including electricity supplies. He had infuriated the EU by claiming that the Rome meeting on Wednesday, which failed to produce a unified call for an immediate ceasefire, had given Israel the green light to continue destruction. This was later contradicted.
Exaggerated Expectations; Nahum Barnea, the country's leading political commentator, warned that the public had exaggerated expectations of what might emerge from this crisis. "Israel is like the guy who promised to jump off the big top at the circus but freezes the moment he gets up there. 'Why isn't he jumping?' the spectators ask. 'No question of jumping,' the guy replies. 'The only question is how I can get down'."
The Israeli government faced a barrage of criticism over its handling of the war in Lebanon, with questions being asked about the decision to attack Hizbollah, mounting military losses, military strategy and tactics, continuing missile strikes and disquiet about Lebanese civilian casualties.
Experts say Israel's much-vaunted intelligence services underestimated Hizbollah's capabilities. The air force came under scrutiny after losing three Apache helicopters and an F16 jet, with one helicopter presumed downed by friendly fire. Five soldiers have been killed by friendly fire.
Wall-to-wall TV and radio talk shows have wheeled out reserve or former officers highlighting the shortcomings of those running the show, bringing defensive responses from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) general staff, sneers at "armchair warriors" and accusations of disloyalty in wartime.
"Commentators have questioned whether key decisions were thought through in the context of an overall strategy: these include the swift response to the July 12 attack, the bombing of Beirut international airport despite warnings that this would trigger retaliation against Haifa, and the destruction of Hizbollah HQ in southern Beirut. They say [ now] the government's response has been to shift its goals and lower public expectations.
The original objective of "breaking Hizbullah" has been watered down to "weakening Hizbullah". Olmert's sudden agreement to the deployment of a multinational force on the border reflects reluctant recognition that Israel cannot itself disarm the Lebanese militia and needs a foreign buffer.
"Even before we know who will win this campaign we can state with certainty that Israel has suffered a terrible propaganda defeat in Lebanon and the Arab world," wrote the Ma'ariv columnist Jacky Hugi. "One country cannot destroy another without explaining to the neighbour the logic behind its actions. From being our silent allies the Lebanese have become the victims of our blind pounding."
Observed an Israeli commentator "No one can predict when the reversal will come, when all the experts will begin competing for first place in revealing the failures of the war: mistaken strategy, political dilettantism and shooting from the hip; the weakness disguised as courageous determination; the illusions, arrogance and boasting;
Very soon everything will return to what it was before -- apart from those who sacrificed their lives and those who were killed in the shillings and bombings. And the major loser will be the people of Israel who, by an unmeasured reaction to a provocation, established their position as a foreign element in the region, as the neighborhood bully, the object of impotent hatred."
But Moshe Arens, a hawkish former Likud defence minister, issued a stark warning that Hizbullah and its leader, Sheikh Nasrallah, could emerge from the conflict without being beaten. "This will be a disaster for Israel," he told the Ha'aretz newspaper. "Nasrallah will be seen as someone who fired thousands of Katyushas at Israeli communities for weeks and came out unscathed."
That is perhaps one of the reasons that how ever inaccurate ,in defiance Nasrallah has kept firing rockets at the port of Haifa ,Israel's third largest city and tourist centre , forcing Israelis to in to shelters and to inspire his followers and Muslims all around the world that the boot can be on the other foot . After what US has done in Afghanistan and Iraq since September 11 and Israel since its creation, if US faced a calamity , it would arouse little sympathy in the Muslim world and even elsewhere.
Since two centuries the Anglo-Saxons and Europeans have gone around bombarding and killing people in Asia , Middle East and Africa .The litany of their crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity by direct killing and causing famines is too long .After the 1857 uprising by Muslims and Hindus under Moghul Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar against British colonial occupation , the British loot , rampage and atrocities were horrendous .These policies have been continued all over the world .How dare the colonized and the oppressed dare raise their head !No wonder Sheikh Nasrallah has become the toast of the down trodden among Muslims and others all around the world
UN observers killed
Washington even blocked a council statement condemning Israel's bombing of a UN monitoring post in south Lebanon that killed four observers. Neither China, which lost an observer, nor Russia, which has demanded a "central role" for the UN in the crisis, were able to move Washington to condemn Israel.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was "shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by IDF of a U.N. Observer post in southern Lebanon." "This coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long established and clearly marked U.N. post at Khiam occurred despite personal assurances given to me by Prime Minister Olmert that U.N. positions would be spared Israeli fire." In Rome he repeated that the post was under attack since morning and the fatal attack took place in spite of constant pleas to Israeli authorities
In Jerusalem, Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev expressed regret over the deaths. But , Olmert, first dismissed the charge. "It's inconceivable for the UN to define an error as an apparently deliberate action," he said. The Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, said: "I think there is an understanding that unfortunately during a war these things can happen." Later Olmert , in face of universal uproar apologized .
Protected by US veto in UNSC, Israel has shown scant respect for the organization or its Resolutions to vacate its aggression of Arab territories occupied after the 1967 war.
To begin with Dan Gillerman ,Israel's ambassador to the UN even ruled out a major UN involvement in any potential international force in Lebanon, saying more professional and better-trained troops were needed for such a volatile situation. He also said Israel would not allow the United Nations to join in an investigation of the Israeli air strike which killed 4 UN observers . "Israel has never agreed to a joint investigation, and I don't think that if anything happened in this country, or in Britain or in Italy or in France, the government of that country would agree to a joint investigation," Gillerman said. Why then a UN investigation into the murder of late Premier Rafiq Hariri of Lebanon. Louise Arbour of the UN High Commission on Human Rights
UN human rights chief Louise Arbour said that the military operations being carried out in Lebanon, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories could be considered war crimes. The obligation to protect civilians during hostilities is entrenched in international law, "which defines war crimes and crimes against humanity," Arbour said in a statement. "The scale of the killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control," she added. '
Myth of Air Power ;
Writing in the Washington Post , Philip H. Gordon of the Brookings Institution said,'' Military historians have a name for the logic behind Israel's military campaign in Lebanon. It's called the "strategic bombing fallacy." Almost since the dawn of the age of military air power, strategists have been tempted by the prospect that the bombing of "strategic" targets such as infrastructure and transportation hubs could inflict such pain on a population that it would turn against its leaders and get them to surrender or compromise. .The United States itself discovered during World War II and Vietnam, to cite just two examples – that strategic bombing has almost never worked. Far from bringing about the intended softening of the opposition, bombing tends to rally people behind their own leaders and cause them to dig in against outsiders who, whatever the justification, are destroying their homeland.
"Given the long odds against Israeli or U.S. bombing campaigns actually producing the desired effects, a more focused and sustained strategy of proportional retaliation, increased support for the Lebanese government, international pressure on Iran and incentives for Syria to end its support for Hezbollah would seem a better approach than another wild throw of the dice.''
During the 1999 US led 78-day Nato bombing campaign against Milosevic's Serbia also wild claims were made in Brussels about the damage caused by its air campaign , but the strategic military damage was minimal.
A study by Earl H.Tilford Jr for the US Army War College debunked the claims on the performance of high-tech weapons like the B-2 bombers .By 19 May, after 56 days Nato claimed to have destroyed 31 percent of all Serb heavy forces in Kosovo, including 11 battalion or brigade command posts; 312 tanks, heavy artillery pieces, and armored vehicles; and 244 other pieces of military equipment. Further reports stated that air strikes had destroyed 75 percent of the fixed surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites in Yugoslavia and 12 percent of its mobile SAMs. But a US News and World Report article stated that there was evidence of only 26 destroyed tanks and self-propelled artillery vehicles. Instead of 210 destroyed armored personnel carriers, only 12 actually were counted. And, rather than the 449 mortars and towed artillery pieces originally tallied as having been killed by air, only eight were in evidence.
Israeli failure at Bint J'beil also illustrates fondness of US and Israeli war lords' greater reliance on high-tech , with its air force getting more of defence appropriations diminishing the forces capability to fight on the ground , as can be seen in Iraq too. It were the Northern Alliance which helped US enter Kabul and Afghanistan.
From now on, Hizbullah does not have to win. It merely has to survive as a potent force - and it appears to be doing just that. Meanwhile the political damage done to Israel through miscalculation, overreaction and targeting errors is incalculable.
"A defeat for Israel and a victory for Hizbullah would have terrifying consequences for the Middle East, which would probably begin with regime change on a wide scale (but not the kind Washington looks for) and could end with the very battle for survival that Israel has always claimed that its use of military force was designed to avoid.
" Alongside Israel's failure sits the failure of strategy of Blair and perhaps Bush. The most positive construction that can be put on this is that they hoped Israel would weaken first Hizbullah and then Iran and Syria, and thus create the context for a wider Middle Eastern settlement, incorporating Palestine and easing our problems in Iraq. Israel's failure so far to achieve its war aims means that this strategy too is in danger of being frustrated.
An expert said that the world should get very nervous when the US feels frustrated and Israel faces defeat. This is when miscalculations of even greater magnitude become even more possible. There are powerful voices among the Neo-con Christian right - now very influential in Washington - that the US policy aim should be to use Israel's excesses to draw in Iran and Syria, so that the US could "take them down" as a prelude to reshaping the Middle East for democracy. If it were adopted it would be bound to lead to a widening conflagration that would embrace the fragile tinderboxes of central Asia and goodness knows where beyond. Rice's aim should be to persuade Israel with a promise to install the Lebanese army, backed by an international force, in southern Lebanon to stop Hizbollah rocket attacks and to tempt Hizbullah with the return of the disputed Sheba'a Farms area. Hizbollah will not have to disarm immediately.
The US now believes significant damage has been inflicted on Hizbollah and that prolonging the war would enhance the Shia group's standing in the Islamic world more than it would hurt its capacity to fight.
Nadim Shehadi, a Middle East expert at Chatham House, said it was possible Bush would turn to Syria as a way out of the crisis but only because all the other choices facing the US and Israelis were even worse. "It would be capitulation, maybe you could call it capitulation light, but capitulation all the same. It would be the end of the American regional agenda," he said. And Syria would never entirely pull the plug on Hizbullah. Nor would it break with Iran. "The idea that it would do so is naive. The only reason Syria is not under attack now is because of its alliance with Iran."
Syria also has ballistic missiles with chemical and biological warheads. Syria's relations warmed up with Russia again after President Bashar's visit to Moscow early last year , with Russia writing off many billions dollars of Cold War days debt and replenishment of its arms including short range missiles .Moscow will not let down Damascus .In the wake of ill conceived Neocon policies in Middle East , in spite of historical enmity , Syria has made up with Turkey , and despite Washington's displeasure , Ankara has also made up with Moscow and Tehran .Caught up in its quagmire in Iraq and now the Israeli denouement in Bint J'beil , USA at odds with Turkey ,is now trying to entice Ankara in its ME objectives, but the price demanded might be too high .
"The US alliance with Israel has been a fact of international life for decades, but seldom has Washington acted so blatantly in support of the country and with such disregard for the rest of the international community. By blocking diplomatic action, the US has alienated the Arab world even further. And Britain, shamefully, has been a party to this. Washington and London argue that there is no point in calling for an immediate ceasefire because it would only be a temporary solution and what is needed is a sustainable ceasefire. This is an unusual approach to conflict. It is normal to press for a ceasefire and then try to work out peace terms. To demand a workable peace plan for the Israel-Lebanon first is the stuff of dreams. Israel and Lebanon have now been in conflict since 1982: there is no easy solution on offer.
"US has to end its policy of blocking diplomacy in order to allow Israel time to deal with Hizbollah militarily - an option that Israel may be finding less attractive anyway in the face of stiff Hizbollah resistance. Ms Rice needs to push for an immediate ceasefire and that can only be achieved by persuading not just Israel but Hizbollah and its two backers in the region, Iran and Syria. Such is the poverty of US diplomacy in the region, made worse under the Bush administration, that Washington has no diplomatic links with Iran and only limited ones with Syria. There is nothing to stop her flying to Damascus to open negotiations with Syria's president, Bashar Assad, no matter how distasteful that might be to her.
Edward Luttwak in the neo-conservative Wall Street Journal argued that Damascus should be invited back into Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah, even if that meant "recognition of Syrian suzerainty" over its smaller neighbor. It might be "tremendously embarrassing" to the Bush administration to agree to such a price, but there is little alternative, he noted. A second article in the right-wing National Review by contributing editor James Robbins on Monday, too, argued for a rapprochement with Damascus as part of a "new international alignment in the Middle East" of Sunni-led states against Iran. Ralph Peters, a staunch pro-Israel columnist and military expert with the neo-conservative New York Post noted that "Israel is losing this war, Israeli miscalculations have left Hizbollah alive and kicking." But he with Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, want a major Israeli ground invasion to clear out Hizbollah infrastructure and militants from southern Lebanon.
In an article in Slate.com titled "Rice's fallacy ," Gareth Evans and Robert Malley concluded;
" Washington and Tel Aviv must confront the reality that this war cannot be won militarily, even stretching to the limit and beyond the constraints imposed by international humanitarian law. The only way out is diplomatic and political. It begins with an immediate cessation of hostilities, followed by a prisoner exchange and, under appropriate conditions, the dispatch of an international force to South Lebanon. Given Lebanon's history and its fragile political-sectarian balance, any such force must be contemplated with extreme caution. It has to be agreed to by all parties—Hezbollah included—authorized by the U.N. Security Council, and be a confidence builder, not an enforcer. Understandable as the desire of Israel and the United States may be to have a force with full disarmament powers, if it is viewed as threatening Hezbollah or taking sides in the confessional battles it could plunge the country into a new round of civil strife.
" A serious effort to safeguard Israel's security without jeopardizing regional or Lebanese stability is possible, but only if the United States is prepared to engage in vigorous, continuous, and comprehensive diplomacy. Immediately after a cease-fire has been secured, the United States and its European and Arab partners should focus on ending the conditions that produced this deadly conflagration—the real root causes. This would include intensifying the intra-Lebanese dialogue concerning Hezbollah, as well as the country's political system and national defense; addressing pending Israeli-Lebanese issues; engaging Syria and Iran in a broad discussion of regional matters; and reinvigorating the long-dormant Arab-Israeli peace process.
At an evening dinner at the Association of South East Asian Nation's Regional Forum in Malaysia attended by Ms Rice, she an accomplished musician who studied the piano at college, played Brahms sonata which she called "a prayer for peace". She ought to have played Mozart's 'Requiem ' for the civilians dead and dying in Lebanon and Israel and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(K Gajendra Singh, served as Indian Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan in 1992-96. Prior to that, he served as ambassador to Jordan (during the 1990-91 Gulf war), Romania and Senegal . He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies, in Bucharest .